Contact with the unborn child

Approximately from the 20. In the first week of pregnancy, the expectant mother can feel her child move. With a little patience, the expectant father also succeeds in this when he places his hand on her belly.

Young family sits together and small child strokes mother's pregnancy belly

© AleksandarNakic / E+ / via Getty Images

Initially, fetal movements in the mother’s abdomen are still very delicate. They usually feel like a slight flutter or thump. Later on, the movements become more and more obvious and occasionally become noticeable as small deformations of the abdominal wall.

The frequency and strength of these movements differ from child to child. As the pregnancy progresses, the child gradually becomes quieter again, because it then completely fills the uterus and has hardly any room left to turn and twist.

Everything in motion

For most women, the first noticeable stirrings of the baby are an exciting experience. Sometimes it is only now that they really become aware that a little person is actually growing in their womb. The first movements of the child often mark the beginning of a particularly close relationship between mother and child.

Many pregnant women find that their child’s pushes, kicks and tumbles are reactions to their own movements: A sitting position that constricts the space in the belly can trigger lively protests, while stroking the abdominal wall can have a calming effect. This is how mother and child begin to get to know each other.

During the day, when the pregnant woman is in motion, the baby will often sleep because it is cradled in the pelvis. At night, when she is lying quietly, the child is often more alert because she has more space in the womb and also shorter sleep phases than the mother.

Child feels with

It is now known that unborn babies are sentient at an early age and react to external influences. When the baby moves vigorously, it is usually in response to a pleasant or unpleasant stimulus.

Already in the first trimester of pregnancy, the child begins "movement training" and develops its sense of balance in the process. In the second trimester, the baby begins to respond to touch and light and to notice changes in the amniotic fluid. By the beginning of the last trimester, the child can already hear. Quiet music often has a relaxing effect, loud and hectic music tends to have the opposite effect – as does stress of any kind.

Quiet moments with the three of you

With the help of an ear trumpet, stethoscope or simply by placing his ear on his partner’s belly, a father-to-be can, with a little luck, hear the baby’s heartbeat. Sometimes it sounds like a fast chugging sound.

Soon, deformations on the woman’s abdomen will appear from time to time as the baby stretches and twists. Men who lie relaxed together with their partner and caress her belly can clearly feel the baby if they have their hand in the right place at the right moment.

Gently rubbing your partner’s belly with a fragrant care oil is not only good for the stressed skin, but also indirectly for the baby. Sometimes the child responds to the father’s warm hand by following it. This is how happy first moments can come about for the three of you.

Unborn babies also need rest

But too much stimulation can also disturb an unborn child. For this reason, it is very controversial to subject the child to a kind of prenatal learning training. Some parents encourage their baby to kick at certain times, sing them songs or read them stories, and wake them up by tapping or pressing on their belly. This may have the opposite effect and disturb the child in its sleep-wake phases, which are important for its development.

As beautiful and exciting as the tangible contact with the unborn child can be: There is a good reason why the child grows in a protective amniotic cavity. Even if it moves, it does not have to be awake. It sleeps most of the time, with its brain developing optimally. On the other hand, if there is too much wakefulness, there is a risk of early stimulus overload.

Ultimately, a pregnancy with as little stress as possible, in which there are sufficient periods of relaxation and rest, is best for the child as well as for its parents. By pausing together, listening and feeling, contact with each other usually develops all by itself.

When can you sleep together again after the birth?

There is no clear medical recommendation on this question. In principle, sexual intercourse is possible again when all birth wounds have healed completely and both partners have a desire for sex.

Most women need a few weeks or months until their body has coped with all the changes after the birth of the child and they are also mentally open again for the common sexuality.

Does sexual intercourse feel different after childbirth?

After the birth of their child, some women have the impression that their vagina feels "wider" compared to before and that they cannot feel their partner’s penis as well. Sometimes also the man has a corresponding feeling. Whether this is the case depends not only on the subjective feelings during sexual intercourse, but also on how well a woman’s pelvic floor muscles recover over time.

Childbirth enormously stretches the muscles, ligaments and tendons of a woman’s entire pelvic region. Afterwards, however, the muscles of the vaginal wall and pelvic floor become firmer and stronger again, so that the old body feeling is usually restored. This process can be supported by targeted regression gymnastics. It consists of exercises that help to strengthen the muscles of the abdomen and pelvic floor again and to tighten the tissue.

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